Great British Sewing Bee Live – New YouTube video | Champagne Twist

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Picture source: http://thegreatbritishsewingbeelive.com

Hello,

I’ve just published a new video on my YouTube channel, featuring footage of my trip to the inaugural Great British Sewing Bee Live event, at ExCel London.

Please take a look and comment either on my YouTube channel or here at ChampagneTwist.com.

A review of the event is coming soon and a ‘What I brought at the show’ video will be posted shortly.

Enjoy!

 

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Espace Gabrielle Chanel – Review | Champagne Twist

It has admittedly been a while since I’ve been out and about in London Town. Few things will draw me from under my comfy duvet when it’s pouring down with torrential rain. However a chance to attend a Chanel workshop would do the trick.

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Espace Gabrielle Chanel, 27 Old Bond Street, London

Starting today and running till 24th September, Chanel is hosting a special pop-up mini exhibition and workshop event on Old Bond Street. I was lucky enough to attend earlier this afternoon on the launch day.

During the workshop participants were introduced to the history of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, the inspiration of Chanel’s latest perfume creation. During the fun session, we were we able to sample the 4 main flowers scents used to create this new perfume, Orange Blossom, Ylang Ylang, Tuberose and Jasmine.

While I found the workshop genuinely fascinating, as a fan of Chanel, I wasn’t told anything new that couldn’t be sourced from the official Chanel YouTube Channel. That said, I still found it enjoyable and loved the idea of sampling the main notes of the perfume and then the new Gabrielle fragrance itself. The expert guiding the audience was also very entertaining, informative, skilfully delivering the presentation with passion.

I wanted to learn about the new fragrance, partly so that I could review it, and partly to see if I liked it enough to purchase it for myself. Having gone through the trouble and undoubtably huge expense of hiring an Old Bond Street building, decorating it so beautifully, and creating a fun and interactive experience specially themed around this new perfume, the participants were strangely not given a sample of the said perfume to take home.

Like most, I rarely purchase a perfume straight off the bat. I tend to source samples initially so I can experiment with the fragrance for a few days, and experience the dry down fragrance over time.  High end fragrances of this nature are a considered purchase, so I was surprised and disappointed that such a obvious opportunity to promote this new product was not taken advantage of.

gabrielle chanel perfume

When I think of Chanel, especially Gabrielle Chanel, I think of glamour, generosity, decadence, opulence and aspiration. The environment of 27 Old Bond Street certainly has that air, with its beautifully decorated open spaces, but not gifting a small sample of this new product seemed a little mean.

We were gifted a branded ribbon, a badge after the workshop, and later an exhibition poster contained in a large branded canvas tote.

chanel 8

A small vial of the eau de toilette would have done wonders for bloggers and customers to promote this fragrance. While I don’t wish to sound ungrateful, the gifts, which are nice and useful, they did make me feel a little under appreciated and somewhat exploited. As I mentioned, I was keen to learn about the new perfume, described by Vogue magazine as a “once in a decade event”.  I would have happily forgone the bag, badge and ribbon, for a 1.5ml sample of the eau de perfume or even the eau de toilette, rather than being used as merely a virtual, unpaid walking advertisement.

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If they had pinned the ribbon and badge to the bag, again it would have felt that little bit more special. How many adults attending a Chanel event would relish a pin badge or a piece of branded ribbon, especially when those items are presented beside the large perfume bottles? It would be hard enough to fob that off to a 5 year old. The effect defocused from the new fragrance celebrations and came across as a little ‘stingy’, a word I would never before have associated with Chanel.

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I have written a review of the fragrance, which you can read here, as I popped into Fenwicks for a sample card. Having just visited an event about the new perfume, I really shouldn’t have had to go to a department store to obtain a sample.

There is the opportunity to explore the interactive displays on the ground floor to and watch the video montages. However to fully experience Gabrielle, you are respectfully invited to purchase a bottle for around £115 for 100ml.

If you’re in the area, have a spare 30 – 45 mins, and you’re a Chanel fan, I would suggest going to Espace Gabrielle Chanel, located at 27 Old Bond Street, nearest tube station Green Park. Book a workshop to learn about the product and receive a some nice goodies, but don’t expect a take home a sample of the actual product for which the entire space was developed.

 

Rating: 3 out of 5

3-star

 

 

What really happened at the Bloggers’ Meet Up, Allergy & Free From Show Learning Centre

The bloggers meet up from hell - the allergy & free from show July 2017
What really happened at the Bloggers’ Meet Up, Allergy & Free From Show Learning Centre

Few things surprise me. I predicted Brexit, the US election and the UK election.  I knew when One Direction would split up, and that the Master would kill Missy in Doctor Who. As I said, few things surprise me, but today at the Allergy and Free From Bloggers’ meet up, that was an absolute shocker.

Attending the event was intended to be a treat for us bloggers, a chance to meet fellow foodies and interact with great companies who work tireless to create such great products.

Organised chaos

Sadly, for want of a simple clipboard and checklist, rather than a happy, friendly chit chat between foodies, the event turned into a free for all, which could have turned rapidly into something more disastrous.

I’m writing this, because I have never in my life witnessed such total greed in people. I will point out firstly that the organiser and attending bloggers couldn’t have been nicer and I would have loved to have had a good old natter with them. I would have loved to chat with all the food producers who also attended, as it is unusual to have the opportunity for a face to face with people, who not only care deeply about the products they make, but also the customers who they sell their items to.

Yet the ugly greed of some people, completely spoiled the occasion for me.

Examples of behaviour

One woman had the audacity to sit down next to me and boast at length how she grabbed a number of free samples. Then she asked me what a blogger was!

Another woman continually grabbed as much as her hands could manage, pushing other people in the process. Honestly, was there any need for this?

I asked another person who seemingly came from nowhere if she was a blogger. She replied in the positive. She lied. When pushed, she admitted she overheard that someone was giving out freebies and she wanted to see what she could get.

One woman, with a foot in a cast, climbed over several benches, and physically pushed her way to the front, in order to get a bottle of beer.  She may have a bad foot, but she’s got a good pair of eyes and more stamina than Andy Murray! She’s pretty quick too, for a person with a foot in plaster.

Another woman, pretended that she didn’t understand English, yet was later heard conversing in English to her associate, discussing how they could trick other producers into giving them more free stuff.

It wasn’t the fact that these people took, well stole, these items, heck it happens all the time. It was the calculated malice in which they conducted themselves. Honestly, in all my days, I have never seen a sudden mass of people, so greedy, so dishonest, so disgusting.

After effects

There are the knock on effects – this was a group of bloggers, who specialise in food allergies. They perform vital work in getting information out to people who a) can’t attend these events and b) require specific knowledge in order to carry on with their daily lives.

Of course, these greedy horrors won’t care a jot and would probably step over their own grandmother for a penny. But many will miss out in this important information, why should. they have to suffer?

It both angers and saddens me that I had to bore witness to such abject greed. For goodness sakes, this is a G8 country. Yes, things are bad, but have we reached the level of such awful behaviour? Have we become so uncaring, so selfish, so greedy, so absolutely shameless? Apparently we have.

How it went wrong

I don’t understand why the area wasn’t closed off to the general public, or why none of the bloggers were asked for any form of ID. Thankfully it didn’t quite develop into a full run, but in a confined area, with so many people, frankly it wasn’t worth the risk for me and I left half way through.

It was continually announced over the PA that it was a private event, yet still more  and more people crammed their way into the space in order to fill their boots. The effect was by then too little, too late. Perhaps being in that immediate environment heightened what happened, but I tell you this, I never what to witness such ugly, cold hearted greed ever again.

I did manage to speak briefly to a few producers, and I will either contact them separately and/or review their products in due course.

Yes, I know I run a risk of being ostracised from the blogging community by publishing this post, but if this is the way such events are conducted, people need to know.

Reaction from Allergy & Free From Learning Centre Assistant

To add insult to injury, one of the Allergy & Free From Learning Centre assistants rudely interrupted me mid-conversation with the event organiser, after I had waited patiently, by holding her hand up to my face, giving me the most evil look imaginable.

Was there any need for that, for what was in essence partly her failure to keep the event safe and organised?

No doubt this will all be buried in the social media web as quickly as possible to minimise any perceived damage.

All for want of clipboard and a checklist.

bloggers event, gift bag

#BloggersSuite, July 2017

Hello folks,

It’s the season for blogging meet ups, as yesterday I attended my 2nd event, this time hosted by scarlettlondon.com. BloggersSuite was held at the Qbic, London City hotel in Aldgate, East London.

Qbic London city hotel, Aldgate, East London, England
Alright treacle?, light display at the Qbic London City hotel, East London. Picture source qbichotels.com/london-city

The 2 hour long afternoon event was very different from Blogtacular, which I attended 3 weeks ago. Most of the attendees were beauty or fashion bloggers. The diversity of the attendees in terms of age, ethnicity, gender and blogging specifications was not as diverse as I would have liked.

Venue

Qbic, London City, is a nice hotel, but I’m not sure it was the ideal venue for BloggersSuite. The event hosted 75 bloggers, with a few businesses showcasing their products, Instagramable areas and a long table for the speakers and attendees. I thought the space was too small to be effective, and I found it difficult to hear the speakers, specially due to the loud background noise. There wasn’t enough space for all the attendees to sit down to listen to the speaker, meaning that only a lucky few were able to enjoy the highlight of the event in relative comfort.

Food and drink

I was disappointed with the food, which consisted of Qbic logoed cup cakes and popcorn in pink striped bags. The cup cakes were Instagramable, but the sponge was flavourless, and had quite a dry texture. The creamy frosting and decorative disc were both very bland in taste.

cup cakes, qbic, London, Aldgate, East London
Qbic London City Cupcakes

The popcorn packets again were Instagramable, but tasted stale.

The drinks were nice, I liked the complimentary cocktail, but I can’t tell you what it was as they were not labeled and there was no one I could see to ask.

blogging event, east London
BloggersSuite event, 1st July 2017, East London

I particularly liked the bottled Kineta Green Apple Matcha drink.  Green Cola was also available, but I didn’t have an opportunity to sample it.

Goodie bag

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#BloggersSuite goodie bag, July 2017

Very impressive selection of beauty themed goodies in the bag. The value of the contents I believe outweigh the ticket price. If you’re not into beauty, you may find the goodie disappointing, but I am excited to try out these products and will report back on them soon.

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Contents of the #BloggersSuite goodie bag

 

Attendees were also gifted mobile phone usb sticks from SanDisk (not shown).

Special mention

Bloggerssuite did top Blogtacular by arranging a charity raffle for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, and at the time of writing, they had raised the best part of £200 in just 2 hours. I thought this was a nice touch, which was notably and extremely disappointingly missing from the otherwise perfect Blogtacular event.

If you would like to donate to this cause, please click this link for more information.

Mini masterclasses

The audience were treated to talks from 3 high profile bloggers on 3 different topics. The speakers were;

Haydy Squibb  – Basic SEO Masterclass

Charlotte Jonsie – How to get brands to notice you an hoe to make your mark in the blogosphere

Vix Meldrew – Blog branding and finding your voice

All three speakers were brilliant, but as I mentioned, I found it difficult to hear their talks over the background noise, and I know I missed out on some key information they offered, which is such a pity.

It seems that the topic I was particularly interested in, “Fashion to flatlay” was cancelled, without explanation. The published timetable I accidentally discovered the day before on one of the speakers blogs, seems to have substantially changed, without notice – maybe I missed the announcement.

Value for money?

At £14.14 (£5.80 for early bird tickets), the ticket price was value for money. The goodie bag was generous, and speakers were good, but it was a pity that there wasn’t enough space to really take full advantage of everything the event had to offer.

Overall impression

It was a compact, busy venue, the food disappointing, drinks good, but in fairness, these events are not meant to focus on the facilities, the menu or even dare I say the goodie bag.

The speakers made this event, providing invaluable information in an entertaining way, which I’m sure everyone who attended were able to gain some good takeaways. The charity raffle was also a lovely thing to do, and I think the organisers should be highly praised for their efforts in this regard.

However, there simply wasn’t the space or the opportunity for me to engage with other attendees or the businesses as I would have liked. I did have a quick chat with a rep from SanDisk, but ran out of time to talk to the other business reps.  The number of attendees was spot on in my opinion, but the venue was too compact to really make the most of the the event.

I also would have appreciated some sort of house keeping at the start, such as a welcome speech from the organisers, and speaker and business introductions.

Would I recommend BloggersSuite?

Yes. If you’re a beauty or fashion blogger, it is well worth a couple of hours of your time, especially for the goodie bag and the mini masterclasses.

I do get the impression that the organisers work very hard to put these events together, and was impressed with portions of the afternoon. The let down was the lack of physical space. I could forgive the sub par food, but not being able to hear the speakers and introducing a new timetable without notice simply shouldn’t happen. There was a general lack of information on just about everything, which I found surprising and disappointing. With just a few, inexpensive tweaks, this could be an essential annual event on every bloggers’ calendar.

Did you attend BloggersSuite? What did you think? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe.

Thanks for reading.

Blogtacular 2017 – (2) Fears and Concerns

Hello,

Going-to-Blogtacular-200

Yesterday, I wrote about my hopes for Blogtacular 2017. Today the topic relates to my fears, concerns and how I will attempt to tackle them.

I admit, the initial outlay for me is a huge spur, in that I need to make this event cost effective for me and my future plans.  But like many people, the thought of meeting potentially 100s of people all at once, fills me with a mix of excitement and dread.  What if I say the wrong thing, what if wear something inappropriate?

I am definitely one of those people who would rather find the nearest, shaded corner and stick to it like glue. I want to focus on the learning opportunities, without worrying about how I look or if I say something silly.

Solution? – Chill out, stop eating cow and most importantly stop worrying about these things.  Easier said than done of course, but these are 3 things I need to remember:

  1. One of the goals of this event is to have as much fun as possible. Most of the people going to Blogtacular were either in the same boat or are in the same boat.  We are all going to be a bit nervous, even probably the hosts! But it’s important to remember, this is an event in London, in June, which celebrates all things blogging, vlogging, creative, shopping, crafts … heck is it June 10th yet?
  2. Another goal I have is to meet more people. Blogging is great fun, but can suddenly become a very solitary career if not kept in check. I have noticed how hard it is to discuss blogging matters to non-bloggers.  As much as I love the movie “The Net”, I don’t relish a future as the Sandra Bullock character.
  3. The main goal for me during this event is to learn how to take this blog, my youtube channel, Pinterest and Instagram feeds further. Whirling ideas around in my own head is only going to get me so far. It is also a chance to share and even impart some of my own wisdom to others. The opportunity to share and exchange ideas is a positive thing and will always lead to growth .

So, while no doubt I will be spending some time hiding in my strategically selected corner, gathering up courage to speak to some poor, unsuspecting soul, – for which I apologise now in case I do say something stupid – I will also, after a suitable amount of time has elapsed, venue out onto the ‘dance floor’.

Another ways to break the ice is to attend one of the fringe events. There are 2 photowalks and a videowalk scheduled for Friday 9th, as well as a pre-conference party, also held on Friday. These are opportunities to meet people before the conference in a more manageable group size, as well as gain some more skills so vital to the blogging arena. So if you can, sign up for these fringe events and hopefully it will help ease any fears you may have.

What are your tips and suggestions to cope with anxiety or dealing with unusual situations? Are you shy or worried about meeting new people? How do you overcome these situations? Please comment below and share your ideas.

Tomorrow, I will write about how I’m planning to revamp my social network in time for Blogtacular. Please subscribe so you don’t miss the next instalment in this series.

Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow.

#makelikeaboss: The Village Haberdashery and A L’aise event – My Take-A-Ways

Today, I visited The Village Haberdashery in North West London, to a) not buy any fabric (didn’t work!) and b) listen to a talk by a remarkable business owner, Suzie Dicker.

For the 2nd of the Make like a boss series, Suzie Dicker of A L’aise (which happens to be French for ‘at ease’ or ‘comfort’), explained to a keen audience how she started her amazing business with practically nothing. Yet within 18 months, her stationery and small leather goods company can easily sit amongst such brand names as Smythson, Orla Kiely and Cath Kidston.

My 3 take-a-ways from the talk were:

  1. Don’t try and do everything yourself – if you’re not good with numbers, get an accountant. Outsourcing isn’t a dirty word, or something to be ashamed of, rather it should be embraced, as it will allow you to focus on the areas of the business you excel at.
  2. Good product photography is key.  Suzie attended 2 trade shows in her first year of business, which created a buzz for her products. She made the point however, if those potential customers then refer back to a website which doesn’t match the high quality of the products, it doesn’t create the best impression.
  3. You can start a business with no money.  This is a huge one for me, as I’m in the process of building my own business on a limited budget. Have a business plan – if you need help writing a business plan, ask an accountant or business advisor. Make sure you have the paperwork to back up your dreams before you head towards your bank manager. Start off with a professional business plan and make it impossible for the bank manager to say no.

Actually, there was another personal take-a-way  I finally managed to source the fabric for my top to match my Henley Skirt. It has only taken me the best part of a year, and yes I did promise not to buy any more fabric. But then again, if recent events have taught us anything, seizing the day seems rather apt.

The next in the make like a boss series features Tilly Walnes from Tilly and the Buttons. Visit the Village Haberdashery website for more details, check out the facebook page here.

Thanks to Suzie for an inspiring talk and  all at Village Haberdashery for hosting such a fantastic event.

Top 5 YouTube Sites of 2016 | Champagne Twist

TECHNOLOGY
Photo Credit ‘Death to Stock’.

These are my top 5 YouTube Sites for 2016 (in no particular order) –

  1. Kristabel Always interesting, and often thought provoking Kristabel’s YouTube channel has given me loads of inspiration during 2016 in the realms of travel, fashion and lifestyle.
  2. Lorraine Pascale My favourite ever chef and one of the most multi talented and inspirational people ever, Pascale proves you can achieve your dreams and eat cake too!
  3. At Home With Nikki If you love anything to do with home decor, you need to check out this youtube channel.  Nikki plus Homes and Gardens to shame.
  4. TED-Ed another highly inspiration and educational resource, Ted-Ed has 100s of videos covering a wide range of subjects – there is something for everyone.
  5. The Resistance with Keith Olbermann – Keith Olbermann is a riot! If like me you were disappointed with the results of the recent US election, check out Olbermann’s posts. If nothing else he will give you hope for 2017.

And as a bonus, why not check out my YouTube channel – Champagne Twist

champagne-twist-logo

What were your favourite YouTube sites of 2016? What YouTuber are you currently excited about? Please share in the comments below. Thanks for reading! Please subscribe to Champagne Twist for more.

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Champagne Twist

You Can Sit With Us Ldn

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Frankie, Betty magazines - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn

It’s Sunday, it’s freezing, it’s raining, I don’t feel 100%, the transport system is partly closed due to engineering works … again. Why don’t I just spend the day in bed, nice and warm, with my ready supply of cups of hot tea?

Camden Collective, 110 Hampstead Road, London #YouCanSitWithUs - Champagne Twist
Camden Collective, 110 Hampstead Road, London

Because, I would have missed out on a golden opportunity, that being the #YouCanSitWithUsLdn. The inaugural event hosted by Kristabel Plummer of I Want You To Know at the Camden Collective, was a marvellous event where a host of social networkers, bloggers, YouTubers and Instagramers, both newbies and established, came together to talk, share ideas and network about all things primarily relating to blogging.

I managed to have a few words with Kristabel, she said that it was the first time she had ever arranged such an event.  I would never have guessed. A simple concept that was extremely well executed, I left not only impressed by her natural gift as an event organiser, but also empowered. Empowered by the fellow social media dons at the event, their openness and willingness to share their knowledge. Kristabel managed to create a welcoming space for social networkers to come out of their collective shells and share their experiences with virtual strangers. All this on a limited budget (although again, you would never guess), a short time frame and help from her friends. It’s amazing how a good idea can develop into something great, positive and empowering.

At times, for me, it was a little surreal. I was suddenly chatting away to bloggers I’ve been following for years. I felt I knew so much about them, but they knew little about me. Yet they were still interested in what I had to say. Before, they had been people whom I would watch on YouTube, or I would read their adventures in some far flung place on their blogs. The curious thing I quickly realised was that every person in the room, no matter their personal journeys, had at least 3 things in common. 1) They worked hard on their respective social networks, 2) Their are all multi-talented and/or multi-gifted, and 3) They all, without exception, at some point had exactly the same fears and angst as everyone else.  It didn’t matter if they had 1 follower or 1 million followers, making social networking perhaps the great societal leveller.

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn group photo set-up
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpress.com
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn group photo set-up - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpress.com

I know that I will have to pull my little socks up in terms of my own social network, and I was very nervous when I arrived, attending the event on my own and meeting new people that makes me a little uncomfortable. Some of these women are fierce – their knowledge is vast, and their energy levels are immense. However, I left believing that it is not only possible to achieve the goals I have set for my blog, but I can surpass them. The social network community is very friendly and I was soon made to feel at ease. Blogging offers wonderful opportunities for people who enjoy solitude, but the benefits are 10-fold when you take just a few steps outside your comfort zone.

I could have easily spent the day at home working on my blog, with my ready supply of tea. Instead I spent the day with the caring bloggers support group, surrounded by positive energy, and meeting fabulous people. I think that’s a good swap!

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Betty, Frankie, Umbrella magazines - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn – Betty, Frankie, Umbrella magazines

Hopefully, this will be the first of many events, and I for one will place the next event at the top of my agenda. This will certainly go in my end of month favourites video, and is an early strong contender for the best of 2017.

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn – plant in blue pot

Did you attend the #YouCanStillWithUs event? What did you think? Please comment below and subscribe for more.

Thanks for reading.

The Village Haberdashery, Champagne Twist

Village Haberdashery – New Location Report

vh-dummy-2Some afternoons start off a little dreary with grey skies, as did last Wednesday when I made a trip to the new Village Haberdashery site. However, the grey skies were soon banished, to be replaced by a rainbow of fabrics, yarn and flowers.

The Village Haberdashery is a sewing and knitting emporium, newly situated in West Hampstead Square. A very short walking distance from West Hampstead Tube, Rail and Thameslink stations, the store is ideally situated for those who live in and around North London.
vh-magic

The new shopping estate where the store is located is still a bit of a building site, but it’s easy to find, and if you look suitably lost, a skill I have perfected over the years, a nice group of helpful builders are on hand to provide precise directions should you need them. After climbing a flight of stairs, or if you’re more sensible using the lift, you are greeted by a beautiful retro dressmaker’s
mannequin on the first floor, outside the shop front.

 

Follow the sign, where a magical wonderland awaits.

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vh-quilt-1
vh-quilt-2    vh-yay-1vh-tulips-yay

vh-wheelbarrow

A unique, and I think better, use of a wheelbarrow. I wonder if I plant my yarn scraps in the garden, will they grow to be huge balls of wool like these ones?

vh-floral-dress

 

 

After seeing this beautiful dress, I was inspired to purchase some of the fabric. Initially, I thought about making a summer skirt with it, but I’ve changed my mind and will instead make a square necked tunic, to show off the beautiful print. The tunic is part of my #2017MakeNine challenge, so please stay tuned.

If there is any fabric leftover, I hope to make a matching Ghislaine hair tie.

vh-fabric

Les Fleurs Rayon by Rifle Paper Co. – Birch Floral in Periwinkle

vh-table-chairs

Lots of space for sewing and knitting classes, or for a good cup of tea and a natter. In the background, you can see some of the sewing machines set aside for classes.
vh-wall-of-wool

Just look at this marvellous wall of wool. Imagine the wonderful array of knitted goodies you could make with this collection of yarn.

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I have often tried to visit the old location, but it was a bit of a trek and difficult for me to get to, however the new location is more ideally situated. The new store is bright and roomy, yet jammed packed with lots of sewing, knitting and paper crafting goodies.  It is quite easy to spend an entire afternoon browsing and chatting to the owner and members of staff. They are welcoming, helpful and ready to offer their expertise should you need it. A home from home. I’m already looking forward to my next visit and adding to my ever increasing stash.

Have you visited the new Village Haberdashery? What do you think? Please add your comments below.

Thanks for reading, and please subscribe for more. Oh, and please check out my seamstress tag YouTube video here 🙂